The Grand Soleil 46LC is a comfortable yet fast and stylish yacht designed specifically with the needs of long-distance cruising in mind. See our First Look Video of the boat, shot at the Southampton Boat Show, below.
This is the second boat to be launched in this Italian boatyard’s new series of long-distance cruising yachts and was voted European Yacht of the Year in 2016. The Grand Soleil 46LC (designating Long Cruise) aims to provide the utmost in comfort for two people, plus occasional guests, who spend large amounts of time on board and intend to cover significant distances while ocean cruising. The design is intended to maximise on three key aspects – space, elegance and safety.
Compared to Grand Soleil’s main Performance range, The Marco Lostuzzi designed LC models have deeper and wider hull sections. This provides more accommodation volume and space for increased tankage, machinery and battery capacity, without unduly compromising passage times or handling characteristics.
The designers have concentrated on optimising three aspects: comfort, stowage and systems. There are generously sized cabins, plus ample headroom, plenty of space to move from one area to the next, and numerous hatches, portlights and hull windows that provide an abundance of natural light.
No attempt has been made to squeeze in the maximum possible number of cabins, which means there’s ample provision for a large volume of stowage throughout the interior. Sleeping accommodation is skewed towards providing the best possible owner’s suite, which occupies the entire boat forward of the main bulkhead. The smaller of the two aft cabins is to port, aft of the galley and is fitted with a double berth. The starboard cabin is noticeably larger, with double the floor area, and is arranged with twin berths that can be converted to a large double. Both these have significantly better headroom than is typically found in aft cabins, as there are no overhead cockpit lockers.
The saloon has a flexible arrangement that can be easily switched between dining and relaxing modes, along with a retractable navigation table and provision for a sea berth on the starboard side. There’s also provision for a large optional pop-up flatscreen that’s electrically operated.
The coachroof design and deep hull sections allow for a raised saloon floor. Below this there is plenty of space for impressively large fuel and water tanks, a high-capacity battery bank, plus most of the domestic systems.
On deck and performance
The efficient and easily driven hull shape sports a long dynamic waterline and plumb bow. Other exterior styling features include a short bowsprit and the distinctive composite mainsheet arch.
A considerable amount of thought has gone into making the deck layout as efficient as possible, both in terms of sail handling and moving around easily. For instance, to avoid obstructions when going forward along the side decks, the cap shroud chain plate is mounted outboard, but the inner (diagonal) shroud is taken to the side of the coachroof.
An all-furling rig is available, including a self-tacking jib, offering the ultimate in ease of handling. In addition, all key control lines are led aft to the two helm stations. The 0.7m long bowsprit is a perfect platform from which to fly furling reaching sails such as asymmetric spinnakers and Code 0s. The sprit also incorporates neat stowage for the anchor.
For protection from the elements, whether inclement weather or excess sun, both a bimini and sprayhood can be mounted on the over-cockpit arch. This also supports the mainsheet, which is completely clear of the cockpit floor. The forward section of the cockpit has three different table options for dining, while there are also sunbed positions both on the foredeck and after decks. The former also has an optional additional fold-away bimini for use in port and at anchor. Despite the lack of conventional cockpit lockers under the seats, there’s ample on-deck stowage in the lazarette and a sail locker right forward.
Equipment and options
In this part of the market owners naturally want to customise their boats as far as possible to their own tastes and requirements. As well as a range of different sail plans buyers of the Grand Soleil 46LC have a choice of interior finishes, as well as additional equipment such as generators and air conditioning systems.
What it does best
One of the most striking aspects of this boat is the attention to detail. As well as creating a quality product, the carefully thought through ergonomics will make it a joy to spend time on board. The power in the rig is easily tamed, making it a fast boat that doesn’t need a big team of athletes to sail it. In addition, the needs of a long-distance yacht in terms of tankage, battery capacity and stowage are also well provided for, yet within a boat that’s of a size that makes it feasible for a couple to handle without drama.
Perhaps the biggest criticism that can be levelled against it the 46LC in the context of extended voyaging is that this is a complex boat with a plethora of systems that will require specialist maintenance to keep them operating in the long term. It’s clear that many owners are happy to accept this to gain the benefits of increased comfort and convenience, however it’s important to recognise the trade-offs between this and a simpler boat that is less likely to require specialist skills or equipment to be sourced in remote corners of the globe.
Other models in the range and alternative boats
The 46LC is only the second model to be launched in Grand Soleil’s LC (Long Cruise) range and joins the existing 52LC in this line-up. The company also has a six model range of performance cruisers ranging from 39-58ft.
The most obvious competition comes from X-Yachts’ now well established Xc range. This was borne of a similar philosophy, from another company with an enviable reputation for its range of performance cruisers and race boats, with models at 35, 38, 42, 45 and 50ft. Read our review of the latest version of the Xc:45.
For more information visit Grand Soleil or Key Yachting, the UK distributor.
Grand Soleil 46LC specifications
Length overall 14.72m.
Hull length 14.0m.
Draught (standard keel) 2.30m; (shoal keel) 1.80m.
Upwind sail area 112sq m.
Fuel tankage 300 litres.
Water tankage 600 litres.
Engine 75hp diesel.